The Thirteenth Floor (short fiction)

images[6]Daily Prompt: Elevator

Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.

We got on the elevator on the ground floor; a little man with greasy hair, horn rimmed glasses, pants pulled up just under his rib cage, and the belt dangling a foot beyond the buckle.

I punched floor twenty-two. He looked at me over the top of his glasses and did the same.

He moved next to me and said, “Do you know why there is no thirteenth floor.”

I looked at the numbers and sure enough, no thirteenth floor. “I never noticed that before.”

He cocked his head around in front of mine. “Don’t you want to know why?”

“Not really,” I said. “There’s little I can do about it at this point.”

He looked straight ahead as if looking beyond the doors. “It’s considered bad luck to have an elevator with a thirteenth floor.”

“That seems peculiar,” I said. “There really is a thirteenth floor.”

“No, look again,” he said pointing at the twelve and fourteen. “No thirteen.”

“So the fourteenth floor is actually the thirteenth?” I said.

“Now you did it,” he said.

“Did what?” I said.

“The elevator now knows the fourteenth floor is really the thirteenth,” he said.

“How can I be blamed when you’re the one who brought it up?” I countered.

“Brought up what?” he said as if it was the first time we spoke.

“The thirteenth floor!” I said

“You just can’t leave it alone can you?” he said.

We got to the twenty-second floor and exited the elevator.

“That was a smooth ride wasn’t it,” he said. “I noticed just a little jerk between eight and nine.”

“You seem to know a lot about elevators,” I said.

“I should,” he said. “I’m the inspector.”

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16 comments

  1. Hmm. When the elevator inspector says “you’ve done it” and confused the elevator, it’s time to get off. What strange, quirky guy. Nice story.

  2. The reception told us that our patient is being shifted to room 407 from the Hospital’s emergency service section after the MRI. And no, we can’t travel along with the patient in the Patients Only elevator, will have to take the stairs or the visitor’s elevator on the other side.

    Managed to locate the visitor elevator, we punched the button and waited for eternity for the lift to come. Finally it arrived on the ground floor, we got in, punched the button for 4th floor and waited and waited and waited. The elevator started with a jerk and gingerly moved up, stopping at each floor on the way before we could go out on the 4th floor.

    Searching across the floor, we could not find a room number 407 and were getting a bit panicked, already under stress because of the medical emergency of Dad. Just then, a hospital attended informed us that there is a mismatch between the room numbers and the floor in the hospital. Room no. 407 is on the 5th floor… and yes every new visitor to the hospital gets fooled by this weird number system, including some of the new employee 🙂

    • Wow! that could be tragic, especially for a hospital. Maybe they could hire a voodoo Dr. to get rid of any other superstitions. I’d be weary of that place.
      That’s a great story, thanks for taking the time to share it.

  3. I think the “inspector” is in fact, an imposter. If he was as knowledgable as he should be, why did he hit the floor button a second time. Quite unnecessary.

    “I punched floor twenty-two. He looked at me over the top of his glasses and did the same.”

    • Thanks for reading, James.
      Actually, he is an inspector. He is impatient and demanding. Likely he thought the button wasn’t punched correctly to begin with. “Nobody can push buttons” like me attitude. That is the subtle humor of the story, nobody pushes people’s buttons like know it all inspectors.

Blather away, if you like.

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